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Submission + - ASK SLASHDOT: Which VR system is worth the investment? 1

Quantus347 writes: Straightforward question: I held off for a year to let the various manufacturers shake out the bugs, but now it's down to either a VR system or a new gen console. So I ask you, the Slashdot community, what are your personal experiences with any of the various VR systems out there? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What little things annoy you the most? What features make a given product the best (or worst) option?

"Sprinkle us with Wisdom from your Mighty Brain!"

Comment Re:Batteries going to 11? (Score 2) 210

Size and Weight. With existing technology higher actual capacity requires more physical space, which is largely counter to the design trend of phones. The more recent focus on larger screens buys them a little wriggle room of that, but the public is still clamoring for Thinner and Lighter.

Comment Re:Maybe Wikileaks is the wrong entity to be angry (Score 1) 306

In something like a minor theft or a case of drunken vandalism leading to a disagreement then sure, my expectations would be low for actual action. If I were hospitalized enough for there to be medical records (or raped, as the case was in some of the OP examples) it might warrant escalation, for insurance purposes if nothing else. For that matter, if the theft itself involved me loosing my passport, I expect Id need to get somebody from my government involved to recover proof of identity and be able to go home (Im admittedly not much of a world traveler and don't know offhand what the procedure for that would be). I can't say I'd have high hopes for anything to come of it, Im not expecting Seal Team Six to come and extract me from a hostile land like a bad movie, but that wouldn't necessarily stop me from filing the report and expecting it to be logged in some server/file cabinet back home. And I'd sure hope that all my private information wouldnt be included in some mass information dump by activists whose politics don't involve me. Something as simple and innocuous as a standard form to get a replacement passport would likely include things like my Social Security Number, and that sort of thing getting published can haunt you for years.

Comment Re:Maybe Wikileaks is the wrong entity to be angry (Score 5, Informative) 306

Why wouldn't they? If, for example, I was mugged (say, both robbed and say beaten with a stick) in a foreign country, I could fully expect the police report to end up in a diplomatic transmission, which would include the stolen identity/credit card information as well as the medical records that described my injuries. Crimes against foreign nationals would often go though the State Department and whatever equivalent the other nation had.

I dont know the circumstances of all the cases described in these cases, but there are plenty of reasonable and legal reasons for a government body to have that information that does not involve Big Brother spying.

Comment Re:If I thought it would help... (Score 2) 279

It remains to be seen whether the DHS would actually be the ones administering things. They're able to make the classification, and they'd have the opportunity to take on the actual administration if they so chose, but it's at least as likely that they'd designate/create some new government body to do the actual work for a couple reasons.

1)Odds are the TSA has left a bad taste in the mouths of the upper brass of the DHS, so they may not be as eager to jump into things as they once might have. Better to assign the job to some other branch cabinet branch so that if things go as badly it's not on them directly.
2)This is less a matter of security than it is coordination and Standard, developing federal regulations to replace the hodge-podge of State and local level elections boards that currently all do things their own way; it's more akin to OSHA than to the TSA or Border Security.

And that, in my opinion is why it's such a great idea: it elevates and standardizes the process, ensuring that everyone's vote is cast and counted the same way nationa-wide, and in theory take steps to provide vital (and often missing) accountability.

Comment Do Professional still serve a purpose? (Score 1) 407

This is a serious question. It seems like they consistently do more harm then good to the box-office of movies in modern times, serving only to spread early negativity and hamper the opening weekend turnout. I understand that once upon a time the film industry needed these curated professionals to have early access to the film to drum up interest and get press in printed media, but in today's world of twitter feeds and social media, I honestly think the film industry would be better served to leave them out of the loop entirely and let the actual target fanbase serve as a first wave of hype-building response. Especially in the case of comic book movies, where you can be fairly sure of a large turnout opening week that is primarily fans already. I, like so many, will go see it regardless, because Im a fan of the existing body of work and want to see for myself how it translates. Good review popping up before opening weekend is in no way going to change that, but a bunch of bad reviews might. It's loose/loose for the studio.

Submission + - SPAM: Bulk of melted fuel in Fukushima no. 2 reactor at bottom of pressure vessel

AmiMoJo writes: Most of the melted nuclear fuel inside the No. 2 reactor at the disaster-hit Fukushima No. 1 power plant is likely located at the bottom of its pressure vessel, plant operator TEPCO has revealed. According to a study that used a cosmic ray imaging system, an estimated 130 tons of the so-called fuel debris remains at the bottom of the vessel. A decision on how to remove fuel from the reactors is due by 2017. Reactors 2 and 3 are expected to be flooded with water to make the process easier, but reactor 1 will have to be done dry, which is much more difficult and unprecedented.

Submission + - Inside the BlackHat Las Vegas NoC where even the Zeus trojan is cool (

mask.of.sanity writes: Neil Wyler and Bart Stump are responsible for managing what is probably the world’s most hostile wireless network. They are part of a team of 23 who run the network operations centre at the Black Hat hacking conference in Las Vegas taking place this week, and reveal how they need to loosen their normally strict defensive rulebooks for the conference networks to prevent only the worst attacks from taking place.

Submission + - House Passes Bill Allowing Banks To Continue Using “ (

Lcilla74Linton writes: A few months back, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed new rules that would limit how banks, credit card companies, and other financial services could shield themselves from legitimate lawsuits by forcing customers to sign away their constitutional rights. Now, the House of Representatives has passed an appropriations bill that, if signed, would stop the CFPB from enforcing these rules and give banks back their “get out of jail free” cards.

A growing number of companies — from banks to cable companies to for-profit colleges — have adopted the practice of inserting arbitration clauses into their customer contracts. These clauses, which most customers have no authority to change or remove, generally do two things: bar the consumer from suing the company in a court of law, and prohibit that consumer from joining similarly harmed customers in a class action.

Instead, each individual complaint must be heard in the byzantine process of binding arbitration, where damages are limited, costs for mounting a proper case can be prohibitive, no precedents are set, and where the arbitrator's final decision can not be appealed in the legal system — even in cases where a serious error was made that would have resulted in a different outcome.

As a result, very few wronged consumers take part in the arbitration process. Additionally, the CFPB found that financial institutions primarily use arbitration as a tool for shutting down class actions, invoking their contractual right to arbitration mostly in cases that involve large numbers of plaintiff customers.

To that end, the CFPB proposed that certain financial services providers be barred from banning class actions in their consumer contracts.

But in the House version of the 2017 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, the Bureau would effectively be stopped from moving forward with its proposed rules. This legislation passed through the House easily on Thursday, with a 239-185 vote, largely along party lines.

Among the many anti-consumer things sprinkled throughout the appropriations bill — we'll get to those in a later story — is a condition barring the CFPB from using any of its funding “to regulate pre-dispute arbitration agreements.” Additionally, any regulation the Bureau does come up with can't be enforced until the CFPB effectively repeats its three-year study on the issue.

This is, in essence, a repeat of what the banks asked Congress to do last year with riders to the omnibus spending bill, but which ultimately failed to make the final cut.

And just like last year — and several other previous pieces of failed legislation — the House is trying to restructure the CFPB to weaken the agency and put it under the budgetary thumb of bank-backed lawmakers.

Rather than have the Bureau be led by a single Director, the appropriations bill seeks to replace that position with a 5-person board, any member of which can be removed by a sitting President at any given time for “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office.”

Instead of having the CFPB's funding coming from the Federal Reserve, the Bureau would need to enter into the annual political process of seeking appropriations from Congress.

“In last night's vote, Wall Street interests prevailed over the interests and rights of American consumers,” says Christine Hines, legislative director for the National Association of Consumer Advocates. “Congress can and should fund the government without indulging corporate interests and their harmful policies.”

The funding bill now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to face greater scrutiny from both lawmakers and consumer advocates.

As the CFPB finalizes its rule, industry lobbyists have tried to spread myths about the benefits of arbitration and the shortcomings of class actions.

One favorite factoid repeated by arbitration backers is that the average class-action settlement only pays out $35/plaintiff. That may be accurate, but it ignores a number of important aspects of class action lawsuits.

First, those $35 payments add up. If 200,000 customers are affected, that means the company is being penalized $7 million — and that's not including the substantial chunk of money that would go to the lawfirm(s) representing the plaintiff class.

By comparison, assume (generously) that maybe 200 of those wronged customers goes through the arbitration process. Assume again (even more generously) that each of them subsequently wins and gets damages that are 100 times what they would have gotten through the class action settlement. That's $3,500 each, for a total of $700,000.

In reality, the number of customers who would even think to go to arbitration would be a lot smaller than this example. According to CFPB data, only 2% of credit card customers would even consider consulting a lawyer for a small-dollar legal dispute.

Comment Re:Consciousness is not the same thing as free wil (Score 1) 285

You are talking about Incompatibilism and the notion of Free Will as constrained by Hard Determinism (aka Physics/Destiny/God's Plan). They are using the term more on the Compatiblism side, where the key part of Free Will has more to do with the Choices made by an individual based on their own internal motivations (absent external hindrances from individuals and/or institutions). It's one of the more sticky aspects of the philosophic debate of Free Will, because folks often arent operating on the same definition.

Submission + - FDA Finally Approves Cavity-Fighting Liquid That Lets Kids Avoid Dentists' Drill writes: Catherine Saint Louis writes in the NYT that silver diamine fluoride, available in Japan for decades, has now arrived in the United States after Food and Drug Administration cleared SDF for use as a tooth desensitizer for adults 21 and older. Studies show SDF can halt the progression of cavities and prevent them, and dentists are increasingly using it off-label for those purposes. “The upside, the great one, is you don’t need to drill and you don’t need an injection,” says Dr. Margherita Fontana. SDF is already used in hundreds of dental offices and and at least 18 dental schools have started teaching the next generation of pediatric dentists how to use it. “Being able to paint it on in 30 seconds with no noise, no drilling, is better, faster, cheaper," says Dr. Richard Niederman. "I would encourage parents to ask for it. It’s less trauma for the kid.” In Japan, Australia, Argentina and other nations, dentists have been placing SDF on caries lesions for more than 80 years. The value of silver ions to treat tooth decay has been known in this country for well over a century. Silver nitrate was commonly used by the forefathers of modern dentistry. When applied every six months, silver diamine fluoride arrests more than 90% of caries. In children, applying silver diamine fluoride on active lesions once per year prevents caries in other teeth better than fluoride varnish placed four times per year on all surfaces. Fillings, by contrast, do not cure an oral infection. Bacterial infections also cause acne, but a “dermatologist doesn’t take a scalpel and cut off your pimples,” says Dr. Jason Hirsch. Yet “that’s how dentistry has approached cavities.”

Submission + - SPAM: Maker of Oxycontin Sued for Wrongful Death

An anonymous reader writes: The maker of oxycontin is finally being sued for wrongful death. Too many drug companies have been getting away with negligent behavior. They tried to keep their records out of the public, so they settled out of court. The judge has granted access to these records, but Purdue Pharma can still appeal this and keep their information private.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - SPAM: Harvard astrophysicist suggests China could seize part of the moon legally

An anonymous reader writes: Via a report by Leonard David, a Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics researcher named Martin Elvis sounds the alarm of how an unfriendly power – the Chinese for example – could seize control of an important piece of lunar real estate. They could do it legally by exploiting provisions of the Outer Space Treaty, which technically prohibits claims of national sovereignty on other worlds.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - SPAM: So Much For Benevolent Robotic Overlords: Security 'Bot Knocks Down Toddler

kheldan writes: A 300-pound security robot at at the Stanford Shopping Center knocked down and ran over a 16-month-old boy. The parents of the injured boy are understandably pissed, claiming the autonomous machine is dangerous.

“The robot hit my son’s head and he fell down facing down on the floor and the robot did not stop and it kept moving forward,” noted the boy’s mom, Tiffany Teng, in an ABC7 News report. “He was crying like crazy and he never cries. He seldom cries.”

Check out the full story over on Gizmodo.

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